Archive for January, 2011

Getting Nic firmware versions with PowerCLI

January 27th, 2011 3 comments

Sometimes you need to delve into the innards of ESX to get information out that just isn’t available through the VMware SDK and so not directly available to PowerCLI.

If you’ve been doing any work recently with HP Flex-10 and its firmware requirements, you may need to find out the network card firmware version which is only available from within the ESX console by typing ethtool -i vmnic0

So, PowerCLI to the rescue, but actually using PowerCLI to call Plink.exe which is Putty’s command-line connection tool. You can use this same process to pull anything that you can get from the ESX console as long as you can parse the results of the command and find the information you need.

Read more…

I’ve been served on vSoup!

January 25th, 2011 2 comments

I was honoured to be invited as the first guest on joining Chris Dearden (@chrisdearden), Ed Czerwin (@eczerwin) and Christian Mohn (@h0bbel) talking about virtualisation

We spoke about managing virtual desktops, VDI, HP Flex-10 switches and firmware issues, storage and plently of other things!

You can download the podcast from or even better subscribe through iTunes.

ESX 4.1 Broadcom 1.60 driver DOES support DCC/SmartLink

January 20th, 2011 No comments

I’ve had confirmation from HP that the ESX 4.1 updated Broadcom 1.60 driver DOES support DCC/SmartLink.

I had queried this in my previous post HP Flex-10, ESX and Broadcom fun continues…

So, looks like the 1.60 driver is the one to go for on ESX 4.1 as long as you have the Flex-10 firmware prerequisites and update the Heap Memory allocated by the Broadcom bnx2x driver as listed here:

Unfortunately this driver isn’t available through Update Manager but follow my previous post and you can use PowerCLI.

I’ve also updated my Flex-10 ESX pre-requisites post so you have all the information in one place.

HP also told me they plan to update their original advisory and get better communication on the VMware site to mention DCC/SmartLink, let’s hope this happens.

Categories: Flex-10, HP Tags: , , , , ,

HP Flex-10, ESX and Broadcom fun continues…

January 17th, 2011 6 comments

I’ve been updating my HP Flex-10 firmware information to reflect what’s been happening with ESX 4.1 and it looks like the fun is still ongoing.

My Flex-10 ESX pre-requisites post has also been updated with the latest information.

ESX 4.1 was released with an inbox Broadcom bnx2x driver 1.54.1.v41.1-1vmw

This driver was found to cause Network connectivity issues and PSODs which I warned about and at that stage recommended not deploying ESX 4.1 if you had affected Nics.

VMWare’s KB article: – VMware ESX/ESXi 4.1 host with Broadcom bnx2x (in-box driver version 1.54.1.v41.1-1vmw) experiences a loss of network connectivity and a purple diagnostic screen.

This driver also unfortunately took a few steps back by removing DCC/SmartLink which I mentioned in this post.

Read more…

Categories: Flex-10, HP Tags: , , , , ,

Designing a Virtual Infrastructure that Scales: Part 5, So, after all that…

January 13th, 2011 No comments

This post is the last in the series: Designing a Virtual Infrastructure that Scales.

I hope I’ve managed to give you some information on what you need to be considering when scaling your virtual environment but this series isn’t actually about giving you all the answers but rather to help you think about the questions you need to be asking to make sure you are getting the answers specific to your environment.

So, in summary:

  • Keep it simple!
  • Engage everyone
  • Do your research
  • Do thorough planning
  • Think big
  • Think ahead
  • Start small
  • Create modular building blocks
  • Make it the same everywhere

This all started as a presentation at the London VMware User Group meeting, #LonVMUG where I talked about some of the things you should be thinking about when scaling your virtual infrastructure.

Here are the links to all the posts:
Part 1, Taking Stock
Part 2, Speak to the People

Part 3, Scaling for VDI

Part 4, Designing Thinking
Part 5, So, after all that…

Categories: Scale Tags: ,

Designing a Virtual Infrastructure that Scales: Part 4, Design Thinking

January 10th, 2011 No comments

This post is the fourth in the series: Designing a Virtual Infrastructure that Scales.

In Part 3, Scaling for VDI, I went through some of the considerations specific to VDI and talked about how big your environment can get if you decide to go VDI.

In this post it’s time to talk about actual infrastructure design and start thinking and planning for how to handle scale.

In Part 1, Taking Stock, I talked about how the virtual hosting environment you built a few years ago may be starting to get a little unwieldy to manage. I suggested: “Now is the time to pause if you can and take stock. Have a good look at your current environment and then zoom out and look at the big picture to plan the next stage of your virtual infrastructure because if you don’t you may find it running away from you.”

Hopefully by now you have an idea of what you actually need to virtualise. You’ve identified the number of servers and workstations, what resources they will require, who is going to be accesssing them, from where and at what times. You should know which VMs require business recovery and to where. You have done some calculations on how many hosts you will need to host your VMs and planned failover capacity for HA and DRS. You have an idea of VM network requirements, storage space and IOPS required.

Now is the time to use all that information gathering and see how you can build an infrastructure to run it all.

Read more…

Categories: Scale Tags: ,